Tag Archives: teacher

I want to be a leader

I just want to be a leader. I just want someone to come up to me and say something like, “People look up to you Rob, you’re a real leader.” But I want it to be natural. So if you’re reading this and you’re thinking that you’ll just tell me how great of a leader I am the next time that we run into each other, just save it, all right, because it won’t be the same, it won’t be what I’m looking for. I don’t want to have to ask to be recognized as a leader, I want people to just see it. Unless of course you were going to say it anyway, and you just happened to read this, then go ahead, call me a leader. But if this paragraph is the first time that you’ve ever considered the words Rob and leader in the same sentence, don’t bother, I don’t want to have to go fishing for leadership compliments.

What I really want to be is a hero. I’d just love to be recognized for some sort of heroism. The subway hero, that guy was a total hero, and he didn’t ask for it, the universe just put him in a situation where his natural heroics shone through. That’s exactly what I feel like, a regular hero, but I haven’t been given that opportunity to really display what I’m made of. And how do you go about setting something like that up? You can’t. I can’t just push somebody on the subway and then go ahead and attempt a rescue. That’s not heroism at all. That’s just crazy.

No, I wish people looked up to me like a teacher. But not in an official teaching capacity. I’m not certified, and I really don’t see myself going through the whole getting-your-masters-in-teaching thing. But like a regular unofficial teacher. I wish that, if people didn’t know how to do something, they’d naturally gravitate toward me, thinking things like, well, Rob must know how to do this, he’ll show me, he’s a great teacher. And after I’m done, they’d say something like, “Thanks a lot Rob, you’re a natural.” But I haven’t had any opportunities like that, none that I can think of. I remember one time a while back one of my coworkers at the restaurant asked me if I knew how to clean the whipped cream machine. And I said yes, even though I had no idea how to clean the whipped cream machine. But I thought to myself, how hard could it be? And then the next thing I know, the boss was screaming at both of us, mostly at me, something about, “Why did you say you knew how to clean out the whipped cream machine? What’s wrong with you?”

At least a trusted friend, I’d love to have all of my friends call me up at different times throughout the year and, after really long and deep conversations, they’d say to me, “Rob, you’re a great friend, a really trusted friend, thanks.” But no, and I guess a lot of the blame is mine. Whenever somebody calls me, I always let it go to voicemail. And then I almost always respond with a text message. I just can’t shake that fear that I’m not going to be able to think of anything to say, and it’ll be this weird back-and-forth silence, but not even, because I’m too afraid of letting even a second go by without any words, and so I’m always just pulling conversation filler out of nowhere, peppering every ten seconds with words like, “Yeah,” and, “Sounds good,” or, “I’m just loving the weather today.”

Just once, I’d like to walk in on two of my bosses saying something like, “Man, Rob is such a dependable worker.” But every time I head into the office, the most I ever get is something like, “Come on Rob, you’ve got to knock before you come in here.” And I know you’re supposed to knock, it’s just that I thought they saw me through that glass window in the door. And yeah, it’s my own fault, I’m always struggling to not be five or ten minutes late. And I did spill half a bottle of wine on some lady a while back, that was a pretty big deal, I should be grateful that my bosses let that slide. But doesn’t my hard work throughout the rest of the day make up for it? Isn’t hard work the same as being dependable? Don’t you think a few unasked for compliments might propel me to that next level of even harder work and greater dependability?

This one teacher made us write out all of the questions

When I was a sophomore in high school, we had to take health as a class for part of the year. So for a few months, the otherwise sweat suit clad junior-varsity lacrosse coach would pick up his suit and tie from the dry cleaners and teach us about health. I don’t want to knock health as a subject, I’m sure with the right curriculum, there’s a lot of important material to be learned.


But I do want to knock this health teacher. What a joke. He’d walk in the door on the first day nearly blackout drunk on the power of being a classroom teacher. The health unit wouldn’t start until sometime around the middle of the year, yet he’d still give a huge introductory speech, like, “OK, if you need to go to the bathroom, please raise your hand, all right?” like, come on man, everybody knows how to go to the bathroom, it’s January already, we’ve been here for months.

“Don’t think this is going to be an easy class,” he’d give the most toothless warning ever. Of course this wasn’t going to be an easy class. It was going to be an annoying class. Why? Because this dude was the worst teacher I’ve ever had in my life. There was nothing easy about sitting in that desk every day, even if it was for only fifty minutes or so, trying to stomach this guy playing teacher.

You could tell just by the suit that he wore to class every day that he had no idea what he was doing, while at the same time taking it all way too seriously. Whereas most other teachers wore regular clothes, you know, regular jackets and regular ties, I clearly remember this guy wearing a double-breasted navy coat, complete with shiny gold buttons. It was like he walked into the Men’s Warehouse and said, “I want to like the way I’m going to look, and I want you guarantee it!”

But this is all incredibly petty of me. I’m thinking back on this guy, here I am, I’m making fun of his clothes, that’s not really nice of me. He’s just doing his job. I’m sure he would have rather been outside, teaching phys-ed, not stuck in here going over the same half-unit every year to a bunch of kids that he wouldn’t be around long enough to even get to know their names.

No, you know what? I just tried, I tried to be sympathetic, I got caught up in feeling bad because I made fun of his jacket, but I tried to see it from his point of view and, no, I can’t, I really couldn’t stand this guy. Do you know why?

It was because of the way he made us do homework. We had these stupid textbooks with a bunch of dumb homework questions printed at the end of every chapter. So guess what our homework was? Yup, it was those questions, perfect for the teacher who didn’t really feel like putting any effort whatsoever into planning out what we were supposed to do after school.

But it wasn’t that he just assigned us a bunch of busy work, it was that he demanded that we write out the entire question in addition to the answer. No other teacher in the school made us handwrite the questions. That’s just dumb. It’s stupid. It’s a complete lack of ability to put yourself in the position of your students. Or, even worse, it’s a total ability to put yourself in the position of your students, and seeing it from that angle, understanding what a total waste of time it is to write out some bullshit question, and then to assign it anyway, man, this guy was probably a total sociopath.

The answers to the questions were in the chapter somewhere. It wasn’t hard. It was a manual cut and paste. But to also make us write out the question? And then what did this guy do with our work when we passed it in? He gave everything a check mark and passed it right back. Gee, thanks so much for giving me back this piece of paper. Instead of you throwing them in the trash all at once, I guess you can kill ten minutes or so passing them all back and having us line up after class to toss them in one by one.

I don’t know why I was thinking of this today, and I know I should let stupid little nonsense like this go, but if I ever run into this guy in the future, I’m going to get in his face, I’m going to be like, “Hey man, what the hell was up with making us write out those questions? Huh? Are you stupid or are you just an asshole? Which one?”